Here’s something that really pulled me up short, so prepare yourself for a piece of information which, at the very least, will make you raise your eyebrows or assume your other preferred expression of stunned surprise.
Get this – the average person hasn’t written anything down for 41 days, and one in three of us hasn’t found any reason to pick up a pen for six months, according to a new survey.
That’s right. Six months. Those eyebrows have almost hit your hairline, right?
These people have had no cause to write a cheque, which is fair enough in the days of internet banking, direct debits and cash machines.
But heavens to Betsy, have these people never heard of a crossword or a sudoku?
And how do you live without creating a shopping list, taking notes in a meeting, jotting down items on a to-do list or even wishing someone a happy birthday?
These things are, apparently, now done electronically as an e-mail or text message, which leads us to consider what that means for the future of education.
Education secretary Michael Gove has been attracting a fair bit of stick recently for his apparent determination to turn back the clock to the days of learning poetry by rote and chanting times tables.
But what’s the point? We’ve got calculators now, old timer. Poetry is so last century. And according to this data, is there a need to teach our next generation how to write in the first place?
The only thing most people would seem to need is the ability to sign their own name, and that will probably become obsolete once fingerprint and retina scanning become more widespread.
Shouldn’t decent touch typing skills have a higher priority on the timetable, if that’s how people are going to be communicating from now on?
I ask from a position of strength here, as I took the far-sighted step years ago of insisting that the fruit of my loins learned to touch type at an early age.
As boys will be boys, and an hour of working through a computer tutorial system was the standard punishment for misdemeanours around the house, they both picked it up quickly, and thank me to this day as their fingers fly over the keyboard while members of their peer group still hunt and peck with two fingers.
In my young day, carefully-constructed handwritten lines, placed in a four line stave and rejected if the ascenders didn’t just hit the top line, the descenders the bottom line and the body of the letter fitting neatly in the middle, were the punishment of choice and as a result my hand is clean and legible to this day.
But although I still savour the feel and flow of a good pen, I have to admit that brief notes, greetings cards and the odd reminder to get some loo roll are about the extent of my ouevre these days.
And that’s a particular cause for annoyance for those of my generation, and I think I speak for all of us, who spent a fair amount of their daydreaming hours perfecting a swirling, swooping signature ready for the day they hit the big time and was required to sign autographs in the street.